Leyton Marshes hand over for public use delayed.
Local people have reacted angrily to today’s announcement that the much-loved space of Leyton Marsh will not be returned to the community on the date repeatedly promised by the Olympic Delivery Authority who were loaned the green space by the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority in order to build an expensive temporary basketball training venue for the Olympics.
Campaigners from the Save Leyton Marsh group objected forcefully to the temporary development on the basis that the Metropolitan Open Land had protected status and that the facility should have been built in order to provide beneficial legacy, such as at a local school, rather than on a much loved green space adjacent to an SSSI.
When objecting to destruction of the land for the temporary venue, Save Leyton Marsh group were continually re-buffed with the claim that the venue was only “temporary” and that the land would be “restored to its original condition by 15th October”. The ODA and LVRPA used these claims in order to try and present any protest against their plans as ill-founded and unreasonable, including to justify extremely punitive injunctions against the stopping of works and the Community Support Camp set up on the marsh.
However protestors were vindicated in their concerns by multiple breaches of the conditions of the original planning permission, which involved laying concrete foundations for the 3 storey structure and excavating far deeper than the 15cm that was claimed. Tonnes of contaminated material and an unexploded bomb were uncovered in the process.
Present images of Leyton Marsh show just how ill-founded the claims were that the authorities involved could go anywhere near restoring the land to its original condition. Instead of using soil as a sub-soil base to replace the contaminated soil, the ODA used recycled construction waste with an extremely high pH and laid a geo-textile membrane to ‘assist with any future excavation’. To compound this botched enterprise, topsoil was laid and then compacted by multiple vehicles working on the marsh. The topsoil is now too compacted and water-logged for the turf to be laid.
The community will have to wait at least two further weeks for the workers on site to completely re-excavate the soil in advance of the turf-laying.
However some community campaigners, who have waited for many months to see the land returned, still intend to gather on the remaining green of Leyton Marsh to host a community day on 21st October. The day was intended as a celebration for the return of the land and will still go ahead, despite the broken promises, to celebrate the future time when the marsh will be returned.